Today was the U.S. Consulate appointment! It’s the day when all the kiddos dress up in their red, white, and blue and the parents take an oath saying that all the information they provided is true and correct. I was especially excited for Mia to finally wear her hand-made dress by our friend, Erica. She is definitely a beautiful princess!
We gathered up and got on the bus around 7:30AM. We first went to the same office building as the medical exams so that Kathy could pick up all the kids’ paperwork and take it to the Consulate. We walked as a group to the Consulate building and were able to pass by many waiting people and go into a line directly for adoptions. No cameras or phones were allowed in this building, so we left them in the hotel. Once through security, we went up to the second floor and went through a few paperwork things, one family at a time. Thankfully, there was a small play area for the kiddos. I wish I had a camera because their interactions were priceless! It hit me that we only have a few days left together as a group. Since we are all from different parts of the country, it is unlikely that we will be able to have any kind of reunion, other than through Facebook.
To be honest, this appointment was pretty anticlimactic. We all left saying, okay, I guess they are ready for America! This step contained a small interview that took only a few minutes, and approving some more paperwork for the kids to receive their travel visas tomorrow afternoon. The packet of papers we receive tomorrow will get us through immigration in the United States and then also be used to apply for her US Passport and Birth Certificate. The visa and passport she will have from China will be useless after we get her home. China does not allow for dual citizenship, so we will have to get her U.S. paperwork so that she will be able to have a social security number and the benefits of being an American citizen.
We got back to the hotel and had a few minutes to grab cameras before getting a group picture. The best part was trying to get a picture of just the children together. The only thing I could compare it to was trying to get a “cousin” picture at Christmas! There are always those kids who are just NOT in the mood to cooperate! It was funny and cute and definitely those moments you remember.
After our shopping day yesterday, I had asked Kathy if there was a place to purchase Christmas ornaments. She spoke with a friend who gave her an idea, but she wasn’t sure if I would be able to find any, since it is not Christmastime or Chinese New Year anymore. So, John and I took Mia with Kathy to look in another part of town. We were not extremely successful, but I got a few things that may work to decorate a Chinese New Year tree. While we were looking around, Mia fell asleep in the Tula carrier. Then, we went back to the store where I got Mia’s tea set and let John look around and he and Mia were able to experience “tea time” like I had the day before. We are so incredibly grateful for Kathy. She has been amazing during this week. We had to get a picture together today while she was wearing her UK Wildcats shirt! She had on Louisville the other day and I had to tell her that she was just wrong. Go Big Blue!
When we arrived back to the hotel, we prepared Mia to get a “real” nap, but she was not having it. Her attitude said she needed it, but she said not. Ahh, life with a toddler. We decided to switch gears, introduce her to swimming at the pool, and hopefully she would be tired enough to sleep well tonight. The pool was a great idea! She was timid at first, but then….
She had a blast! DEFINITELY Baba’s girl today in that pool! She didn’t want me and that was just fine. She needed that play time with Daddy.
After pool time we met up with two other families to go to dinner. The restaurant was northern Chinese food and VERY good! I had been looking forward to large steamed buns with the meat inside like I had on my last trip, but didn’t find them until now! They are amazing! Our girl ate like a champ and enjoyed mostly cucumber strands and the steamed bun.
On the walk back, I called home and we got to talk to the boys on the phone. Man, I miss them terribly. I love hearing their sweet voices, but it makes me sad as well. I am very much looking forward to being HOME and hugging and loving on my boys!!!! Since it is Wednesday, they should have a busy day with karate (when Owen will get his purple belt given to him), and a derby race at church. I am glad that they have these great activities to keep them busy.
We are learning that Mia gets wound up before bedtime (again, she will fit right in with our boys who do the same). It is very difficult to get her to listen and calm down. Tonight, I couldn’t figure out what she wanted and got frustrated and didn’t even get to brush her teeth, but she did go potty. She was running on the big bed when we told her to slow down and fell before we could catch her. I know it scared her more than it hurt, but she was very upset. Part of me wants to say she is going to have to learn through experience, though I would never wish a hurtful experience on my child. The crying must have worn her out because it was minutes in her bed before she was asleep. The cell phone has come back into the picture and she insisted on sleeping with it tonight.
Every day is so full of things to do, things we are learning about Mia, and thoughts of how this will all play out once we get home and establish routine. This living in hotels and out of suitcases and eating out all the time is very difficult for all of us. We are very grateful for CCAI and the excellent quality service they have provided through this entire process thus far, but we are ready to go home. Please pray for comfort, rest, continued health, and travel. I am starting to think about that long travel day on Sunday (12-hour flight to Seattle, then Atlanta, then Lexington, then 1.5 hr drive home). I know God has us in the palm of His hand and I trust Him completely. I am so thankful for our prayer warriors who lift us up every single day. YOU MATTER! Thank you all!!!